STORY HOUR READERS
IDA COE, Pd.M.
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, PUBLIC SCHOOLS CITY OF NEW YORK
ALICE J. CHRISTIE
PRIMARY TEACHER. PUBLIC SCHOOLS CITY OF NEW YORK
THE LAND OF STORY BOOKS Robert Louis Stevenson HANSEL AND GRETEL Fairy Tale THE EAGLE AND THE FOX Fable HIAWATHA'S BROTHERS Henry W. Longfellow THE BEAVERS' LODGE Indian Folklore MANITOU AND THE SQUIRRELS Indian Folklore THE SWIFT RUNNER Indian Folklore BROTHER RABBIT Indian Folklore QUEEN MAB Thomas Hood CINDERELLA Fairy Tale THE WIND Robert Louis Stevenson THE BAG OF WINDS Greek Mythology DIANA AND APOLLO Greek Mythology THE TREE Adapted from Bjornson THE FAIRY TREE Fairy Tale HIAWATHA'S SAILING Henry W. Longfellow GRAY MOLE AND THE INDIAN Indian Folklore THE WATER LILIES Indian Folklore WHERE GO THE BOATS? Robert Louis Stevenson WHY THE SEA IS SALT Northern Folklore SENNIN THE HERMIT From the Japanese GREAT AND LITTLE BEAR Greek Mythology THE BOY AND THE SHEEP Ann Taylor THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF Aesop THE LION'S SHARE Aesop ROBIN REDBREAST William Allingham THORN ROSE Fairy Tale THE WOLVES AND THE DEER Fable THE CORNFIELDS Henry W. Longfellow THE GIFT OF CORN Indian Folklore A BOY'S SONG James Hogg THE FROGS' TRAVELS From the Japanese THE MERCHANT'S CARAVAN East Indian Tale QUEEN HULDA AND THE FLAX European Folklore ALADDIN'S LAMP Ida Coe ALADDIN AND THE MAGIC LAMP Arabian Nights THE WHITING AND THE SNAIL Lewis Carroll THE BONFIRE IN THE SEA Australian Folklore ROBINSON CRUSOE Daniel Defoe THE WONDERFUL WORLD THE MAGIC GIRDLE The Brothers Grimm
THE LAND OF STORY BOOKS
At evening when the lamp is lit, Around the fire my parents sit; They sit at home and talk and sing, And do not play at anything.
Now with my little gun I crawl, All in the dark, along the wall. And follow round the forest track Away behind the sofa back.
There in the night, where none can spy, All in my hunter's camp I lie, And play at books that I have read, Till it is time to go to bed.
* * * * *
So, when my nurse comes in for me, Home I return across the sea, And go to bed with backward looks At my dear Land of Story Books.
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
HANSEL AND GRETEL
In a little cottage at the edge of a forest in Germany, lived Peter, a poor broom maker, and his wife Gertrude. They had two children, Hansel and Gretel.
One day Hansel and Gretel were left alone at home. Their father had gone to the village to sell brooms. Their mother was away, too.
The children were left busily at work. The boy was mending brooms, the girl knitting stockings.
After a time they became tired of their hard work.
"Come, Gretel, let us have some fun!" cried Hansel.
As he spoke, he threw the broom upon the floor, and pulled the stocking from his sister's hand.
"Oh, yes!" said Gretel. "I will teach you a song, and you can learn the steps of the dance."
Hansel and Gretel danced about the room. Gretel sang, while she and Hansel danced,
"First your foot you tap, tap, tap, Then your hands you clap, clap, clap; Right foot first, left foot then, Round about and back again."
Presently the mother returned home. She entered the room and found Hansel and Gretel at play.
"You lazy children!" she exclaimed. "Why have you not finished your work?"
Taking the broom that Hansel had thrown upon the floor, the mother started to punish him, but the boy was too quick for her.
Hansel ran nimbly about, and as she was trying to catch him, the mother upset a jug of milk. It was all the food there was in the house.
"Oh, mother!" cried Gretel. "You have spilled the milk, and we shall have nothing to eat."
"Go out into the woods and gather some strawberries. Do not return until you have filled the basket to the brim," commanded the mother. "Hansel, help your sister pick the berries, and hurry back, both of you, for there is nothing else for supper."
Towards evening the father returned from the village.
"Ho, ho, good wife!" called Peter. "I have had great luck to-day, and have sold all my brooms. Now for a good supper! See here—bread and butter, some potatoes, ham and eggs. But where are the children?"
"They have gone to the woods to gather strawberries," replied Gertrude.
"It is growing dark. Hansel and Gretel should have been here long ago," said Peter anxiously.
The wife began to prepare supper. The husband went to the door of the cottage and looked out into the darkness.
"Alas, my children!" cried Peter. "I fear that the terrible Witch of the Forest may find them, and that we shall never see them again!"
Meanwhile Hansel and Gretel had filled the basket with strawberries, and then had wandered into the forest. They sat down upon a mossy bank under a fir tree, to rest.
"Here is a fine strawberry! Taste it," said Gretel.
She put a berry into Hansel's mouth and took one for herself.
"I am so hungry! Give me another berry," said Hansel.
The children tasted another and another of the strawberries, until all were gone.
"Oh, Hansel! We have eaten all of the strawberries," cried Gretel. "We must fill the basket again."
The children began to hunt for more berries, but it was now growing dark, and they could find none. To make matters worse, they had lost their way.
Gretel began to cry, but Hansel tried to be very brave.
"I will take care of you, sister," said he.
"Hark!" said Gretel.
They could hear soft voices among the trees. The children became more frightened than before.
"What is that, near the dark bushes?" whispered Gretel.
"It is only the stump of a tree," replied Hansel.
"It is making faces at me!" said Gretel.
Hansel made faces back again, trying to drive the strange form away.
Suddenly a light came toward them.
"Oh, here are father and mother looking for us!" cried Gretel.
But no, it was only the light of the will-o'-the-wisp.
Hansel called, "Who is there?"
Echo answered, "Who is there?"
Poor Babes in the Wood! They fled in terror, back to the mossy bank under the fir tree. There they huddled close together.
Presently a little man with a long white beard stood before them. He was dressed in gray clothes, and he carried a gray sack upon his back.
Hansel and Gretel were not afraid of the little man, for he seemed very friendly.
The little man sang softly,
"Golden slumbers close your eyes, Smiles awake you when you rise. Sleep, pretty darlings, do not cry, And I will sing a lullaby. Lullaby, lullaby, the Sandman am I."
Then the Sandman threw into their tired eyes the sand of sleep. Soon the children had gone safely to Slumberland.
At midnight a little elf, whose home was deep in the heart of an oak tree, came forth and rang a fairy bell. He sang,
"Twelve small strokes on my tinkling bell— 'Twas made of the white snail's pearly shell;— Midnight comes, and all is well! Hither, hither, wing your way, 'Tis the dawn of the fairy day!"
At the last stroke of twelve, a troop of fairies and wood nymphs appeared. They danced merrily to the tune of the flower bells, forming a ring around the children.
When the sun's rays began to shine through the branches of the trees, the fairies tripped away. Only the Dew Fairy remained. She sprinkled dew upon the children's faces with her magic wand.
The Dew Fairy sang,
"Awake you, O children dear, Wake you and rise! The sun glowing brightly, peeps Into your eyes!"
Then the Dew Fairy departed.
"O Hansel! Hear the birds singing! Where are we?" exclaimed Gretel. "Come, Hansel, wake up!"
The children looked about them in wonder. The giant trees had disappeared, and near them stood a little house.
"What a pretty cottage!" said Hansel. "Why, it is a candy house! The roof is chocolate, and the windows are sugar plums. What a queer fence! It is gingerbread!"
Soon they heard some one say, in a squeaky voice,
"Nibble, nibble, little mouse, Who is nibbling my sweet house?"
The children only ate and sang and laughed.
Suddenly the door of the house flew open. An old witch came out. On her head she wore a pointed hat, and in her hand she carried a stick.
The candy cottage belonged to the Witch of the Forest.
"Oh, ho!" cried the witch. "You dear children, who led you here? Come in, and I will give you candies, cakes, apples, and nuts—all that you wish to eat!"
Hansel and Gretel were frightened. They started to run away, but the old witch waved her Elder Bush above her head. It cast a spell over the children. They could not move.
Then the witch put Hansel into a cage. She brought from the cottage a basket of sugar plums, candies, and nuts. She gave him the sweets to eat.
"You will soon be fat enough to cook," she muttered. "I will bake the girl first."
Grasping the little girl's arm, she shook her roughly, saying, "Go into the house and set the table while I build a fire."
The old witch gathered some wood. As she threw it upon the fire, she said, "Now for a ride through the air on my broom, while the oven is heating!"
Astride her big broom, the witch rode high above the cottage. She circled around like a huge bird, over the trees and back again, while she sang a strange song.
Hansel, shut up in the cage, watched her in terror.
At last the witch flew down to the ground, on her broom. She alighted close beside the oven, which stood in the front yard.
Calling the little girl out of the house she said, "Open the oven door. Then creep inside and see if it is hot enough to bake the bread."
But Gretel guessed that the witch meant to shut the door upon her, so she said, "I am afraid to creep into the oven."
"Silly child!" said the witch. "The door is wide enough. Why, even I could pass through!"
As she spoke, she popped her head into the oven.
Gretel sprang toward her and shut the oven door. That was the end of the old witch!
Then Gretel ran and unfastened the door of the cage.
"We are saved, Hansel!" she exclaimed. Then she danced about, singing merrily,
"First your foot you tap, tap, tap, Then your hands you clap, clap, clap; Right foot first, left foot then, Round about and back again."
Then, taking the Elder Bush, Gretel waved it above her head as the witch had done.
Instantly the candy house became a log cabin. Sunflowers and morning-glories were growing in the front yard, where the witch's cage and the oven had stood.
Soon voices were heard. The sounds came nearer, and the father and mother clasped their children in their arms.
Peter and Gertrude lived with the two children in the log cabin in the forest, for many happy years. And the fairies always took good care of both Hansel and Gretel.
THE EAGLE AND THE FOX
One morning the fox said to his children, "I will find some eggs for breakfast."
Then he went to the woods.
The fox saw an eagle's nest in the top branch of a tree. "How can I reach those eggs?" thought he. "Ha, ha! Now I have a plan."
He put some grass stalks into his ears and knocked on the tree with them.
"Throw an egg to me," cried the fox. "If you do not throw an egg to me, I will knock this great tree over with these grass stalks."
The eagle was terribly frightened, and she threw an egg down to the fox.
"Throw another egg down to me at once," demanded the fox, when he saw that he had frightened the eagle.
"One egg is enough," said the eagle. "I shall not throw down any more eggs."
"Throw another egg to me, or I shall knock the tree over with these grass stalks, and take all your eggs," said the fox.
The eagle was still more frightened, and she threw down another egg.
Then the fox laughed and said, "How could I knock down a great tree with these small grass stalks?"
The eagle became very angry. She flew down from her nest and grasped the fox with her talons.
Then she lifted the fox up and flew with him far out to sea. She dropped him upon a lonely island.
The fox was left on the lonely island. One day he said to himself, "Am I going to die on this island?"
Then the fox began to sing softly. Seals, walruses, porpoises, and whales swam near the island.
"What are you singing about?" asked the sea people.
"This is what I am singing about," said the fox. "Are there more large animals in the waters of the sea, or on dry land?"
"Certainly there are more animals in the waters of the sea than on dry land," replied the sea people.
"Well, then, prove it to me!" said the fox. "Come up to the surface of the water and form a raft that will reach from this island to the mainland. Then I can walk over all of you, and I shall be able to count you."
So the large sea people—seals, walruses, porpoises, and whales—came up to the surface of the water.
The sea people formed a great raft, that reached from the island across to the mainland.
This was what the fox wanted. He ran over the great raft, pretending to count the animals.
When at last the fox reached the mainland, he jumped ashore and hastened home.
Of all beasts he learned the language, Learned their names and all their secrets, How the beavers built their lodges, Where the squirrels hid their acorns, How the reindeer ran so swiftly, Why the rabbit was so timid, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.
THE BEAVERS' LODGE
Big Chief had traveled a long distance through the forest. At last he reached the shore of a lake.
He was very tired, so he sat down upon a rock to rest.
Suddenly a large beaver came up from the water and stood before Big Chief.
"Who are you, that you dare to enter my kingdom?" demanded the beaver.
"I am Big Chief," replied the Indian. "The Great Spirit has given me power over all the animals. Who are you?"
"I am Master Beaver. All the beavers follow me and obey my commands. We are busy people. We always have plenty to do."
Big Chief was not afraid. He showed Master Beaver his bow and arrows and his wampum belt, saying, "These gifts were bestowed upon me by the Great Spirit. I am ruler over the animals of field and forest, over the birds, and over the fish."
When Master Beaver saw the bow and arrows and the wampum belt, he knew that the Indian was very powerful. So he said, less proudly, "Will you come with me and see how the beavers build their lodges?"
Big Chief followed Master Beaver for a short distance along the shore of the lake. He saw many beavers at work cutting down trees with their sharp teeth.
Some of the trees had fallen across the water and reached to an island in the lake.
On the island, other beavers were plastering the spaces between the trees with mud and leaves.
Master Beaver said that this was the way the beavers built a dam.
Then he led Big Chief to the beavers' village on the island. Here were many lodges, built of sticks, grass and moss, and plastered with clay.
At last Master Beaver paused before one of the lodges.
"Enter! This is my home. You are welcome, Big Chief," said Master Beaver.
The Indian followed the beaver through a long, winding tunnel. They came to a large room. The floor of the room was covered with grass and bark.
Big Chief admired the dainty house with its dome-shaped roof.
Master Beaver's wife and his daughter gave the stranger a hearty welcome. They at once prepared a meal of poplar, birch and willow bark, and roots of water lilies.
This was choice food for beavers, but it was not the kind of dinner that Big Chief liked. Nevertheless he was very happy.
Master Beaver's daughter waited upon her father and his guest. She was so very fair that she won the heart of Big Chief.
He no longer wished to live alone. He asked Master Beaver to give the maiden to him, to be his bride. This pleased Master Beaver very much, for he liked Big Chief.
All the beavers and their neighbors were invited to the wedding. The next morning, some of the beavers arrived bringing clay. Then came otters, each carrying a large fish in his mouth as a present for the bride.
They were followed by the weasels, the minks, and the muskrats.
The guests enjoyed the wedding breakfast in the lodge of Master Beaver.
After the feast, the beavers invited the other animals to meet them on the bank of the lake. There they held a council.
They said, "We will build a lodge, which shall be the wedding gift of the beavers."
Then they chose a place under the birch trees that grew near the shore of the lake. Here the beavers began to build a lodge, of sticks of wood and the clay which they had brought with them. Soon the cozy lodge was finished.
Now came the greatest wonder of all. It pleased the Great Spirit to change the bride into a beautiful woman—a wife suited to the noble and handsome Big Chief.
Amid the cheers of their friends, Master Beaver led the happy couple to the cozy lodge near the lake. There they made their home.
MANITOU AND THE SQUIRRELS
"Please tell me one more story about the great Manitou, Grandmother," begged the little Indian boy.
The grandmother liked to tell stories to the boy. She sat down facing him and told him the story of the great Manitou and the squirrels.
This was the story she told:
Once upon a time, there was scarcely any food to be found. The great Manitou and his wife had fasted for many days, and they were very hungry.
"We must have meat," said Manitou.
Then he thought of a plan.
He lifted his bow and aimed a magic arrow through the door of the wigwam.
The arrow sped onward in the forest, until it passed through the body of a bear. It held the bear fast to a tree.
Manitou and his wife went into the forest together. There they found the bear.
Then Manitou said, "We will have a feast and invite our friends."
The birds and beasts were glad to accept the invitation. A large company arrived.
The woodpecker was the first to taste the food. He began to eat greedily, for he was very hungry.
When he put the meat into his mouth, it turned to ashes.
The woodpecker began to cough. "This is very impolite; I must not let Manitou hear me cough," thought he.
The fox was the next to taste the meat. It turned to ashes, and he began to cough.
All the other guests began to cough as soon as they had tasted the meat. They tried very hard not to let Manitou hear them.
They kept on tasting, but the more they tasted the harder they coughed.
At last Manitou became very angry.
"I will make you remember this," said he.
In an instant, the woodpecker, the fox, and all the other guests had disappeared. In their place were many squirrels, running up and down the trees and coughing as squirrels always do when taken by surprise.
To this day, squirrels do not eat meat, but instead they nibble acorns and nuts.
"If you have sharp eyes," added the grandmother, "you will find hollow places in the trees, where the squirrels hide their acorns and nuts."
THE SWIFT RUNNER
In the olden times, the animals were fond of sports. They often held contests, with prizes for those that won.
Once a prize was offered for the animal who could prove himself the swiftest runner.
The reward was to be a pair of great antlers. Each animal was to carry the antlers on his head, while running the race. The animal that should win, would have the antlers for his own.
A path through the woods was chosen for the race course. There were many bushes and brambles along the way.
All the animals gathered at the place of meeting. They chose Black Bear to be judge of the race. It was decided that the rabbit and the deer alone should try for the prize.
"They are the best runners. None of the rest of us could hope to win," said the other animals.
White Rabbit was given the first chance.
"I am willing to try for the prize," White Rabbit said, "but I would like first to look over the ground where I am to run."
So White Rabbit disappeared in the woods. He was gone so long that Red Fox was sent to look for him.
Red Fox found the rabbit hard at work, cutting off twigs to clear a path along which to run.
Red Fox went back and told the other animals what White Rabbit was doing.
Pretty soon White Rabbit came out of the woods. He was all ready to put on the antlers and begin the race for the great prize.
"Oh, no!" said Judge Bear. "We cannot allow you to enter the great race. You are too fond of gnawing twigs. You may keep on gnawing twigs instead of trying for the prize."
So little White Rabbit was not allowed to run for the prize.
Red Fox placed the horns upon the head of the deer and said, "It is your turn to try to win the race."
Then the animals gave three loud cheers and told the deer to do his best.
The deer ran swiftly along the woodland path. He carried the antlers so skillfully that they were not once caught in the bushes.
When the deer returned to the place of meeting, Judge Bear proclaimed him winner of the race.
As Black Bear gave the prize to the deer, he said, "Henceforth you shall wear the antlers on your head. You shall always be called the Swift Runner."
One autumn day in the long ago, Eagle Eye, the great Indian chief, was very sad.
All summer long there had been no rain. The prairie grass was crisp and brown. The little streams were dry.
The animals, finding neither water nor green grass, had gone to the mountains many miles away. The Indians of the plains had no food to eat.
"I will go and search for the place where the animals have gone, so that I may tell my hunters and save the lives of my people," said Eagle Eye.
So, carrying his canoe to the river, Eagle Eye paddled up the stream for many days and nights. He watched to see if any of the animals came to the river to drink, but there was not even a squirrel.
One night the clouds hung low in the sky.
"There will be snow before morning," said Eagle Eye.
Then the great chief hauled his canoe up the river bank. He made a shelter with branches of trees. Here he slept through the night.
In the morning, the ground was covered with snow.
"The Great Spirit is kind," said Eagle Eye. "Now I shall see the footprints of some of the animals, and I can follow them."
Soon he found the footprints of deer that had been to the river to drink. Eagle Eye followed the footprints for many miles. At last he found where the animals lived.
Eagle Eye marked some trees, so that he might find the place again.
Then he started to return to the river bank where he had left his canoe.
Snow had fallen, and everything was white. Eagle Eye could not find the canoe.
"I am lost!" cried Eagle Eye. "If only there were some way of finding my canoe!"
Just then he saw a rabbit peering out from behind the stump of a tree.
"O Brother Rabbit!" called Eagle Eye. "How glad I am to see you! I am lost. I cannot find the river bank."
"Let me lead the way," Brother Rabbit replied. "If you will watch my dark fur against the snow, you can easily follow close behind me."
So Brother Rabbit hopped along, and Eagle Eye, watching the dark fur against the snow, followed close behind.
At last they reached the river bank, and there they found Eagle Eye's canoe.
Eagle Eye pushed the canoe into the water and stepped in.
Before he paddled away he said, "You have saved my life, Brother Rabbit. Hereafter your brown fur shall be white when the cold winter comes. Then no one will see your body against the snow, and you will always be safe."
The rabbit turned pure white.
He looked like a ball of snow beside the bushes.
Then Eagle Eye smiled.
"Your enemies will have a long chase after this," he said, "before they will find Brother Rabbit!"
After many days, Eagle Eye reached his home once more.
The chief told his people that he had followed the footprints of deer, and had found where the animals lived.
The Indians went with Eagle Eye after the deer, and soon they had plenty of food.
A little fairy comes at night, Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown, With silver spots upon her wings, And from the moon she flutters down.
She has a little silver wand, And when a good child goes to bed, She waves her hand from right to left, And makes a circle round its head.
And then it dreams of pleasant things— Of fountains filled with fairy fish, And trees that bear delicious fruit, And bow their branches at a wish.
Of arbors filled with dainty scents From lovely flowers that never fade; Bright flies that glitter in the sun, And glowworms shining in the shade.
And talking birds with gifted tongues, For singing songs and telling tales, And pretty dwarfs to show the way Through fairy hills and fairy dales.
But when a bad child goes to bed, From left to right she weaves her rings, And then it dreams all through the night Of only ugly, horrid things!
Then lions come with glaring eyes, And tigers growl, a dreadful noise, And ogres draw their cruel knives, To shed the blood of girls and boys.
Then stormy waves rush on to drown, Or raging flames come scorching round, Fierce dragons hover in the air, And serpents crawl along the ground.
Then wicked children wake and weep, And wish the long black gloom away; But good ones love the dark, and find The night as pleasant as the day.
Once upon a time, there was a proud, selfish woman who had three daughters. The youngest was prettier than her sisters, and they were jealous of her beauty. They made her do all the housework, while they went to parties and balls.
The girl washed the dishes and swept the floors. She tended the fire and fed the parrot whose cage hung by the kitchen window. She spent so much time among the ashes and cinders, that her sisters called her Cinderella.
Now it happened that the king was to give a ball, in honor of the young prince. Cinderella's mother and sisters were invited.
How pleased they were to receive the invitation! They could think of nothing but the fine clothes they intended to wear.
They sent for the best dressmaker they could find. The oldest sister chose a pink silk gown. "I shall wear my red satin cloak trimmed with swan's-down," said she.
The second sister chose a gown of green velvet, saying, "The green velvet will show my diamonds to advantage."
The night of the great ball came at last. Cinderella helped her sisters to dress.
"Do you not wish that you were going to the ball?" said one of them.
"Yes, indeed!" sighed poor Cinderella.
But her sisters only laughed.
Cinderella watched them from the kitchen window as they drove away in their fine carriage. Then she sat down by the fire and began to cry.
"Why are you crying, Cinderella?" said some one gently.
There stood her Fairy Godmother.
"I wish I could—I wish I could—" sobbed Cinderella.
"You wish that you could go to the prince's ball," said the Fairy Godmother.
"Yes," nodded Cinderella.
"Stop crying and you may go," said the Fairy Godmother. "Run into the garden and bring me the largest pumpkin that you can find."
Cinderella could not think how a pumpkin would help her to go, but she obeyed.
The Fairy Godmother scooped out the inside of the pumpkin, leaving only the rind. She carried it to the kitchen door. Then she touched the rind with her wand. Instantly there stood a great coach covered with gold.
"Where shall we find horses for such a great coach?" cried Cinderella.
"Bring the mouse trap from the cellar," the Fairy Godmother replied.
"Here are six live mice in the trap," said Cinderella breathlessly.
The Fairy Godmother lifted the door of the trap. She touched each of the mice with her wand as it ran out. The mice became six beautiful white horses standing before the coach.
"Where shall we find a coachman to drive the horses?" asked Cinderella.
"Bring the rat trap to me," replied the Fairy Godmother.
Cinderella brought the rat trap, and in it was a large gray rat.
At a touch of the wand, the rat was changed into a coachman. He sat in state upon the coach.
"Now run into the garden again. You will find two lizards behind the watering pot. Bring them to me."
The Fairy Godmother touched the lizards with her wand. In their place stood two footmen in splendid livery.
They stepped to the back of the coach as if they had been footmen all their lives.
Then the kind Fairy Godmother touched Cinderella's clothes with her wand. The rags became a beautiful costume of satin, covered with pearls. In place of her old shoes were glass slippers that had been made by the fairies. They were the very prettiest little slippers in the world.
Never had Cinderella been so happy!
"Now you may go to the ball, but do not fail to leave before midnight," said the Fairy Godmother.
"If you stay until the clock strikes twelve," added the Fairy Godmother, "your coach will again become a pumpkin; your horses will be mice; your coachman will be a rat; your footmen will be lizards, and your beautiful dress will become rags."
Cinderella stepped into the coach. A few minutes later, the white horses dashed into the royal courtyard.
The door of the coach was flung open, and Cinderella stepped out.
As Cinderella entered the ball room, the prince hastened to meet her.
"Never," said he to himself, "have I seen anyone so lovely!"
Cinderella was so beautiful, so elegantly dressed, and she danced so well, that the prince fell in love with her. He would dance with no one else.
The evening passed away like a dream. Suddenly Cinderella heard a clock chime three quarters past eleven.
She bade the prince good-night and was soon on her way home in the pumpkin coach.
When Cinderella reached home, she found her Fairy Godmother waiting to hear about the ball.
"It was fine!" said Cinderella. "The prince has invited me to attend the ball to be given to-morrow night. Oh, how I wish that I might go!"
"You may certainly go to the prince's ball to-morrow night. I wish to make you very happy, dear child," said the Fairy Godmother.
By the time the mother and sisters had returned home from the ball, the Fairy Godmother had disappeared.
Cinderella was sitting by the kitchen fire in her rags.
"Do you not wish that you had been to the ball?" asked the sisters. "There was a wonderful princess there. The prince would dance with no one else."
"Who was she?" asked Cinderella.
"That we cannot say," answered the two sisters. "She would not tell her name, though the prince, on bended knee, begged her to do so."
The next night, as soon as the mother and sisters had started in their carriage to attend the ball, the Fairy Godmother appeared once more.
Again, at the touch of her wand, the pumpkin became a coach; the mice became horses; the rat became a coachman, and the lizards became footmen.
The Fairy Godmother touched Cinderella's clothes with her wand, and this time her rags became a beautiful costume of silver cloth, covered with rubies. In place of the worn-out shoes were the wonderful glass slippers.
"Whatever you do, remember to leave before the clock strikes twelve," said the Fairy Godmother, as Cinderella drove away.
When Cinderella arrived at the king's palace, the prince met her at the door. He would dance with no one else.
Cinderella was very happy. The hours passed swiftly away, but she left the palace before the clock struck twelve.
The king gave another ball the third night. This time Cinderella wore a costume of gold cloth, covered with sparkling diamonds; and on her feet were the wonderful glass slippers.
The prince met her at the door. He led her to the ball room and again would dance with no one else.
This time Cinderella was enjoying the ball so much that she forgot the warning of the Fairy Godmother.
Suddenly the clock began to strike twelve. With a cry of alarm she fled from the ball room, dropping one of her glass slippers in her haste.
The prince hurried after her, but by the time he reached the royal courtyard the beautiful maiden had disappeared.
As Cinderella arrived at her own gate, the coach became a pumpkin; the horses became mice; the coachman became a rat and the footmen lizards.
Cinderella was again clothed in rags, but in her hand she carried one of the glass slippers that she had worn at the prince's ball.
The mother and sisters came home soon afterwards. They could talk of nothing but the sudden disappearance of the beautiful princess.
On the following morning, there was a noise of trumpets and drums.
The king's messengers passed through the town, crying, "The king's son will marry the fair maiden whose foot the glass slipper exactly fits."
The prince rode behind in his coach. He was followed by a company of attendants, who carried the glass slipper upon a velvet cushion.
At last the procession arrived at the home of Cinderella.
The mother and sisters saw the prince coming.
They at once hid pretty Cinderella under a tub in the kitchen.
The prince tried to fit the glass slipper to the foot of the oldest daughter. The foot was too long and too thin at the heel.
"You can pare off the heel," said the mother.
But the prince only laughed.
He tried the glass slipper on the foot of the second daughter. Her foot was too short and too fat at the toe.
"You can pare off the toe," said the mother.
But the prince only laughed.
Suddenly the parrot called, from his cage by the kitchen window,
"You may pare off the heels, Or pare off the toes, But under the tub The slipper goes."
The prince ordered his attendants to lift the tub. Crouching under it sat Cinderella, clothed in rags but wearing on one foot the mate to the glass slipper.
The prince knelt upon the velvet cushion, and tried on Cinderella's foot the little glass slipper which he had found in the ball room. It fitted exactly. It was like the slipper that Cinderella had on the other foot.
At that moment, the Fairy Godmother appeared. She touched Cinderella's clothes with her wand.
There stood Cinderella, dressed in a costume even more beautiful than those she had worn at the palace.
Then the prince saw that Cinderella was indeed the lovely maiden for whom he was searching. He arose and kissed her, and begged her to become his wife.
The prince and Cinderella were married, and in time they became king and queen. They ruled the kingdom long and well.
I saw yon toss the kites on high And blow the birds about the sky; And all around I heard you pass, Like ladies' skirts across the grass— O wind, a-blowing all day long! O wind, that sings so loud a song!
I saw the different things you did, But always you yourself you hid. I felt you push, I heard you call, I could not see yourself at all— O wind, a-blowing all day long! O wind, that sings so loud a song!
O you that are so strong and cold, O blower, are you young or old? Are you a beast of field and tree, Or just a stronger child than me? O wind, a-blowing all day long! O wind, that sings so loud a song!
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
THE BAG OF WINDS
The great caves of an island, far away in the midst of the sea, were the home of the Winds.
Eolus was ruler of the Winds. He kept them imprisoned in the caves. Sometimes he allowed them to go free for a time, to have a frolic or take exercise.
Although the Winds were often unruly and were fond of mischief, they always obeyed the voice of Eolus.
North Wind was the roughest of all. He would go from his cave on the wildest errands.
Sometimes he would pile the waves mountains high and would lash them into a tempest. He would tear the sails and break the masts of the vessels. He would uproot the forest trees and tear the roofs from the houses.
But at the command of Eolus, North Wind would cease his roaring and would go sullenly back to his cave.
"South Wind!" Eolus would call. "Send a gentle, playful breeze among the flowers. Bring gay sunshine and soft showers. Sing a song of spring.
"West Wind! Blow steadily against the sails of the ships and speed them on their journey.
"East Wind! Go forth in a jolly, merry mood. Whirl the leaves over the ground and scatter the seeds far and wide.
"North Wind! Cover the earth with a blanket of snow. Freeze the waters of the lakes and rivers."
Thus Eolus would command the Winds, and they would do his bidding.
One day a ship stopped near the island of the Winds, and anchored. The captain of the ship and the sailors went ashore.
Eolus treated the visitors very kindly.
When the sailors discovered that they had come to the home of the Winds, they cried, "O Eolus! Tell West Wind to blow and help us reach home quickly:"
Then Eolus took a leather bag and put into it all the unruly Winds. He tied the end of the bag with a silver string. Giving the bag to the captain, he said, "Fasten the bag to the mast of your ship. Do not open it, or trouble will follow."
Then Eolus called West Wind from his island cave.
The captain and the sailors thanked Eolus and started off in the ship. West Wind blew gently, and the ship sailed over smooth waters day and night. Each day found them nearer home.
At last, on the evening of the ninth day, they saw the shores of their own land.
The captain cried, "Land, ahoy! We shall anchor in the harbor to-morrow."
Tired with long watching, and thinking that the ship was safe, he went to sleep.
Then the sailors began to whisper softly to each other.
"What do you suppose there is in the bag?" said one.
"It is tied with a silver cord. I am sure that it is full of gold," said another.
Then they planned to rob the captain of his treasure.
One of the sailors untied the bag.
Out rushed the angry Winds! They raged and roared. A storm arose, and the ship was sent far out of its course. The captain begged West Wind to help the sailors, but he could not.
At last the ship was driven back to the home of the Winds.
Eolus was surprised when he saw the ship again.
"Why have you returned?" asked Eolus.
"The sailors untied the silver cord at the end of the bag and set the unruly Winds free," replied the captain. "Please call them back to their caves and help us."
"Depart!" cried Eolus angrily. "I will show you no more favors."
Sadly they sailed away, and no kind West Wind helped them.
They toiled for many days and nights, and they suffered great hardship before they came once more in sight of their own land.
DIANA AND APOLLO
On an island in the sea, there lived a beautiful woman who had two children, twins. The girl's name was Diana, the boy's Apollo.
It was a floating island. Neptune, the king of the sea, had placed four marble pillars under it, and had fastened it with heavy chains.
The two children grew rapidly. Diana became tall and graceful. Jupiter, king of heaven and earth, saw that she was very fair.
One day as Diana was walking through the forest, Jupiter met her and spoke to her, saying, "Fair Diana, hereafter you shall be called Queen of the Woods."
Diana, followed by her maids the wood nymphs, often wandered through the forest. She took care of the deer and all helpless creatures, but she hunted fierce animals.
Apollo, also, grew to be fair and strong.
Jupiter bestowed many gifts upon the youth. He gave Apollo a pair of swans and a golden chariot, so that the boy could go anywhere, on land or sea.
The most wonderful present that Jupiter gave to Apollo was a silver bow, with sharp arrows which never missed the mark. Apollo prized the bow so highly and used it so very skillfully, that he came to be called "Master of the Silver Bow."
Green stood the Tree, With its leaves tender bright. "Shall I take them?" said Frost, As he breathed thro' the night. "Oh! pray let them be, Till my blossoms you see!" Begged the Tree, as she shivered And shook in affright.
Sweet sang the birds The fair blossoms among. "Shall I take them?" said Wind, As he swayed them and swung. "Oh! pray let them be, Till my berries you see!" Begged the Tree, as its branches All quivering hung.
Bright grew the berries Beneath the sun's heat. "Shall I take them?" said Lassie So young and so sweet. "Ah! take them, I crave! Take all that I have!" Begged the Tree, as it bent Its full boughs to her feet.
THE FAIRY TREE
Long, long ago, on an island in the sea, lived a family of seven sisters. The oldest girl ruled the household, and her sisters obeyed her commands. Flora, the youngest sister, was sent to the forest each day, to gather wood for the kitchen fire.
Near the edge of the forest was a cave under some rocks. A stream of water fell over the rocks into a basin in the cave.
This was a delightfully cool spot, and Flora often rested here on her way home after gathering wood in the forest. She would lie on the mossy bank of the stream, for hours, and dream.
One morning as Flora ran along the grassy path that led to the cave, she saw a little fish in the stream. Its scales flashed out all the colors of the rainbow.
"I am going to keep the fish for a pet," said the girl to herself. "I will call him Rainbow."
So she caught the pretty fish and put him into the basin in the cave.
The next day Flora went to the forest for wood. She carried some crumbs of bread which she had saved from her breakfast.
On the way home she stopped at the cave. The fish was waiting for her. He came to the edge of the basin, and she fed the crumbs to him.
How delighted the girl was! She had been so lonely, and now she had a playfellow!
Every morning, instead of eating the bread which her sister gave to her, Flora would save it and feed the crumbs to her pet. The fish would leap to catch them.
"Here are some crumbs, Rainbow," she would say. "This is all to-day, but I shall come again to-morrow."
Then she would sing a little song.
Flora began to grow thin, and her sisters wondered what could be the matter.
One day the oldest sister followed her to the cave and saw her feed the crumbs of bread to the fish.
While Flora was away in the forest, the oldest sister caught the fish, carried him home and baked him for supper.
The bones were buried under the kitchen fire.
The next morning, Flora went to the cave as usual, but no fish was there. She sang her little song, and still he did not come.
"Rainbow cannot be dead," she said, "for I do not see him in the water."
Then Flora hastened home. She threw herself upon her bed and was soon fast asleep.
The following morning, a rooster flew up to Flora's window and crowed,
"Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo! The bones of Rainbow wait for you, Under the kitchen fire, too."
Flora arose at once and went downstairs. There, under the kitchen fire, she found the bones of her pet. She wept as she gathered the bones and placed them in a box.
She went to the forest and buried the box near the cave.
Then Flora sat down on a mossy bank near the cave and sang this song:
"Rainbow, Rainbow, hear my cry, My great wish do not deny. If you can't come back to me, Pray, O pray, become a tree!"
As the last words of the song echoed through the cave, there sprang up beside the girl a wonderful Fairy Tree.
Its trunk was of ivory. Its leaves were of silver fringed with pearls. Its flowers were gold, and its fruit gems from which sparkled the bright colors of the rainbow.
One day the summer breeze carried a leaf from the Fairy Tree across the sea to another island. It fell at the feet of the king.
He picked up the wonderful leaf, saying, "I shall never rest until I find the tree from which this leaf came."
The king set sail with his attendants. He soon landed on the island where the seven sisters lived.
As the king and his men were marching through the forest, they found the Fairy Tree growing at the entrance to the cave.
The king tried to pick some of the leaves, but he could not.
Then he heard the sweet voice of a girl. She was singing,
"Rainbow, Rainbow, speak to me! Bend your branches, Fairy Tree!"
And Flora came tripping along the grassy path that led to the cave.
The king said, "Fair maiden, if you can pick a leaf or a flower from this tree, you shall be my queen."
As Flora reached to pick a flower, the tree bowed low, and every leaf trembled with delight.
The maiden at once presented the flower to the king.
As he took the flower, the king exclaimed,
"To you belongs the Fairy Tree; Pray be my bride and rule with me."
Flora thought she must be dreaming, but they were married next day, beneath the branches of the Fairy Tree.
Adapted from "The Lilac Fairy Book" by Andrew Lang
Thus the Birch Canoe was builded In the valley, by the river, In the bosom of the forest; And the forest life was in it, All its mystery and its magic, All the lightness of the birch tree, All the toughness of the cedar, All the larch's supple sinews; And it floated on the river Like a yellow leaf in autumn, Like a yellow water lily.
HENRY W LONGFELLOW
GRAY MOLE AND THE INDIAN
An Indian was once wandering across the prairie. He was tired, and hungry, and very lonely. He had traveled many miles.
At last he came to a brook, in a meadow at the foot of a hill.
"I will rest here until noon," thought the Indian. He sat down upon the mossy bank beside the brook.
Presently he heard some one whisper, "Lift me up and carry me with you, and I will be your friend."
The Indian looked carefully about him, to find who was speaking. He saw a small, gray animal peeping from out of the moss.
"Ha, ha, Gray Mole!" laughed the Indian. "Why should I carry you?"
"I am far from my island home. If you will carry me to the cliff near the Place of Breaking Light, I can then reach my burrow safely," replied Gray Mole.
The Indian placed Gray Mole in his large wampum belt.
"Very well, little friend," he said. "You may travel with me, but I shall rest here for a time before starting on the journey."
Then, covering himself with his deerskin robe, he lay down upon the moss. He was soon fast asleep.
At about noon Sun passed overhead. Sun traveled so close to the earth that his rays scorched and shriveled the deerskin robe.
When the Indian awoke, he found that his deerskin robe had been scorched and shriveled by Sun. He was furiously angry.
"I will follow Sun and punish him," said the Indian.
Sun had traveled far beyond the meadow and was now fast disappearing behind the hill. The Indian started to follow.
At last the Indian reached the summit of the hill and could look down the other side. Sun could no longer be seen. He had hidden in his cave beyond the Western Sea.
The Indian traveled until he came to the edge of a cliff. The Shining Big Sea Water beat high against the rocks, and in the distance he could see the Place of Breaking Light.
"We have come to the cliff, little friend. Jump out of my wampum belt," said the Indian. "But how are you going to reach your burrow on the island yonder?"
"I shall wait here with you until the break of day," replied Gray Mole.
Many trees grew near the cliff. East Wind blew gently through their branches, rustling the leaves and carrying messages to the Indian.
Oak Tree said proudly, "I am King of the Forest. The Great Chief summons his warriors beneath my boughs. Here he holds his councils. Of my branches the strong arrows are made."
Ash Tree whispered, "My pliant branches make the bows which speed the arrows in their flight."
Maple Tree said softly, "I am the food of the Great Chief. My sap is sweet and wholesome. People of all nations delight to show me honor."
Red Willow bowed low and said, "My bark is used for the peace pipe of the Great Chief. Of my branches the women weave baskets and mats for their wigwams."
Marsh Reeds, growing near Red Willow, chimed sweetly, "Our stalks are used for the stems of the peace pipes."
Linden Tree swayed to and fro, saying, "I am used for the cradles in which the children are rocked."
Pine Tree said gently, "My sweet singing lulls the children to sleep." And she murmured a soft lullaby.
Birch Tree was standing near the path.
"Of what use are you, O Birch Tree?" said the Indian.
Birch Tree replied, "My bark covers the canoes that sail upon the lakes and rivers. I am used also for the picture-writing of the people."
East Wind again blew gently, stirring the leaves of the trees.
Then Cedar Tree said, "My pliant branches make the canoes strong and steady."
Larch Tree whispered, "I give my fibrous roots to bind the parts together."
Fir Tree said, "My rosin closes the seams of the canoes, to make them safe."
Then the Indian looked at a cluster of alder trees growing near a stream of water.
"Of what use are you, O Alder Trees?"
The Alder Trees replied, "The Indian Chief comes here to fish in the cool stream. He finds shelter, beneath our branches, from the hot rays of Sun!"
All this time, Gray Mole had been busily gathering fibrous roots from the larch tree. He had made a rope to snare Sun.
Then Gray Mole called to the Indian to look toward the Place of Breaking Light. There, in a little bay on Gray Mole's island, stood a birch canoe. Soon the canoe floated to where the Indian stood.
"Follow me," said Gray Mole. "Step into the magic canoe. We will go to the island and there set a snare for Sun."
The magic canoe carried them safely over the water, and they soon reached the island. Then the Indian set the snare for Sun.
Presently Sun came out of his cave and was at once caught in the snare.
For seven days the world was dark. The people suffered from hunger and cold. Then the Indian cried, "Alas, what have I done! Who will unfasten the rope and set Sun free?"
"I can set Sun free again," said Gray Mole.
The little mole crept to the snare. Nibble, nibble, he went, until the rope gave way.
Then Sun burst forth in all his might. In his anger he blazed a path across the sky.
The poor little mole was scorched in the fierce heat, and his eyes were blinded. Never again could he see well.
The Indian was sorry, but he said, "Gray Mole, you are a true friend. You shall always live with me, and all the moles shall be my forest brothers."
Then, placing Gray Mole in his wampum belt once more, he stepped into the canoe, and together they sailed to the Indian's home.
THE WATER LILIES
Beautiful white flowers with hearts of gold floated on the surface of the lily pond.
An Indian girl was paddling a canoe gently about among the lily pads. She reached out to pick one of the flowers. Suddenly there appeared before her a little man.
The little man sat upon a lily pad. He smiled at the girl and said, "Listen, and I will tell you the story of the water lilies."
This is the story the little man told:
Once there was a star in the heavens, it shone more brightly than any of the other stars. An Indian youth watched it for many nights. Each night it seemed to move nearer to the earth.
One night the young man had a strange dream. In his dream a beautiful maiden appeared before him and spoke to him. Her words were like music. She said that she was the star that shone so brightly in the heavens. She loved the birds and the flowers, and the people of the earth.
"I wish to leave my sister stars and dwell upon the earth," said the Star Maiden. "What form is the best for me to take, to be loved by all?"
The young man awoke. At once he hastened to tell his dream to the wise men of the tribe.
"The beautiful maiden is the star that we have seen in the south," said the wise men.
Again the Star Maiden appeared to the young man in a dream.
Once more she asked him where she might dwell in safety upon the earth, and what form she should take, to be loved by the Indians.
"Choose for yourself," said the young man.
At first the Star Maiden chose to live in the heart of a white rose that grew on a mountain side. But there she was hidden from sight, so that no one could enjoy her beauty.
Then she searched among the flowers of the prairie, until she found the blossom of a painted cup.
"I will rest here," thought the Star Maiden as she swung to and fro on the yellow cup.
Alas! She was not safe there, for a herd of buffaloes came rushing over the prairie.
Finally the Star Maiden thought of a place where she was sure she would be safe.
"I will live upon the lake," she said. "Canoes glide gently over the water, and I shall see the children at their play."
In the morning, hundreds of white flowers with hearts of gold floated upon the water.
The Star Maiden lived upon earth in the form of water lilies.
When the little man had finished telling the story of the lilies, he jumped into the water and disappeared.
"I shall always love the water lilies," said the Indian girl as she paddled away.
WHERE GO THE BOATS?
Dark brown is the river, Golden is the sand, It flows along forever, With trees on either hand.
Green leaves a-floating, Castles of the foam, Boats of mine a-boating— Where will all come home?
On goes the river And out past the mill, Away down the valley, Away down the hill;
Away down the river, A hundred miles or more; Other little children Shall bring my boats ashore.
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
WHY THE SEA IS SALT
Long ago, there were two brothers, one rich and one poor. The Rich Brother was stingy.
It was winter. The wind howled down the chimney, and the snow almost covered the hut in which the Poor Brother lived.
"We cannot starve," said the Poor Brother to his wife. "I will ask my brother to help us."
Now it annoyed the Rich Brother to have the Poor Brother ask for help. When the Poor Brother asked for bread, the Rich Brother said angrily, "Here, take this ham and go to the dwarfs. They will boil it for you."
So the Poor Brother started out, with the ham under his arm, to find the home of the dwarfs. He trudged on through the snow until he saw seven queer little dwarfs rolling a huge snowball, at the foot of a hill.
The dwarfs paid no attention to the Poor Brother, but kept on rolling the snowball, which grew larger and larger each moment, as they sang,
"Behind the door The Mill you'll find, But snow, the Mill Will never grind.
We'll gather snow, And still more snow, Then roll it down To cool Below."
"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the Chief Dwarf. "We have snow enough here to put out a dozen fires. Come, brothers, let us roll the snowball Below!"
"Heave ho! Heave ho!" cried the other six dwarfs.
In the twinkling of an eye, the seven little dwarfs had rolled the snowball through an entrance in the side of the hill.
Down, down, the snowball rolled, until it reached the place where the fires burned.
Then sizzle, sizzle, came the hot steam pouring out of the entrance.
All this time the Poor Brother had stood watching the seven dwarfs, and saying not a word. But suddenly he thought, "If I do not go Below at once, there will be no fire left to boil my ham."
So the Poor Brother groped his way through the steam and the smoke, and at last he found his way into the home of the seven dwarfs.
It certainly was a very queer place! There were great fires burning on every side. Although the huge snowball had cooled the air, it had not quenched the fires.
The Chief Dwarf was stirring some fat that was boiling in a kettle. When he saw the Poor Brother standing before him with the ham under his arm, he cried, "Ho, ho! Who comes here?"
Before the Poor Brother could answer, the seven little dwarfs had crowded around him, teasing for the ham. It was many a day since they had tasted ham, and they were very fond of it.
"What will you give me for the ham?" asked the Poor Brother.
"We have neither silver nor gold," said the dwarfs, "but we will give you the Mill that stands behind the door."
"Of what use would the Mill be to me? I am hungry and have come to boil the ham," said the Poor Brother.
"It is a wonderful Mill," the Chief Dwarf replied. "It will grind anything in the world that you might wish, excepting snow and ham. I will show you how to use it."
The Poor Brother agreed to give the ham in exchange for the Mill, and the Chief Dwarf told him how to use it.
The dwarf said, "When you wish the Mill to grind, use these words:
Grind, quickly grind, little Mill, Grind—with a right good will!
"When you wish the Mill to stop grinding, you must say,
Halt, halt, little Mill!
The Mill will obey you."
Taking the little Mill under his arm, the Poor Brother climbed up and up, until he came to the entrance in the side of the hill. Then he trudged home again through the snow.
When he arrived in front of the hut, he put the little Mill down on the snow, and said at once,
"Grind, quickly grind, little Mill, Grind a HOUSE—with a right good will!"
The little Mill ground and ground, until there stood, in place of the hut, the finest house in the world. It had fine large windows and broad stairways, and the house was furnished from garret to cellar.
By spring, the Mill had ground out the last article that was needed for the house, and the Poor Brother cried,
"Halt, halt, little Mill!"
The Mill obeyed him.
Then the Poor Brother placed the Mill in the barnyard and told it to grind horses, cows, woolly sheep, and fat little pigs.
When he told it to halt, the Mill stopped grinding.
The Poor Brother carried the Mill to the fields and commanded it to grind rich crops of wheat, oats, barley, and corn.
Then he took the Mill into the house and asked it to grind fine clothing for his wife and his daughters, and to keep all the cupboards filled with good things to eat.
At last the Poor Brother had everything that he wanted. He placed the Mill behind the kitchen door and sat down, with his wife and daughters, to eat the choicest food he had ever tasted.
The Rich Brother heard about all the strange things that had happened, and he went to visit the Poor Brother.
"How did you manage to become so rich?" he asked in astonishment.
The Poor Brother told about the Mill, and that he need only say,
"Grind, quickly grind, little Mill, Grind—with a right good will!"
And the Mill would grind anything he might wish to have.
The Rich Brother did not wait to hear any more but said, "Lend the Mill to me for an hour."
Taking it under his arm, the stingy Rich Brother ran across the fields toward home.
His wife was in the hayfield, spreading the hay after the mowers. He passed her on the way home and told her that he would attend to breakfast that morning.
"I will call you when all is ready," said he.
When the Rich Brother reached home, he placed the Mill on the table, and told it to grind porridge and red herrings.
The Mill began at once to grind oatmeal porridge and fat red herrings.
All the dishes and pans were soon filled. Then the porridge and herrings began to flow over the kitchen floor into the yard.
The Rich Brother tried to stop the Mill. He turned and twisted and screwed the handle, but he could not stop it, for he did not know the magic words.
At last he waded through the porridge across the fields to the mowers, crying, "Help! Help!"
When he told the mowers about the Mill, they said, "Ask your brother to stop the Mill, or we shall be drowned in porridge."
Then the Rich Brother ran to the Poor Brother's house, crying and shouting for help.
The Poor Brother laughed when he found out what had happened. They rowed back to the kitchen in a boat, and the Poor Brother whispered the magic words. The Mill stopped grinding.
In the course of time, the porridge soaked into the ground, but after that nothing would grow there excepting oats, and afterwards the brooks and ponds were always filled with herrings.
The Rich Brother no longer wished to keep the Mill. The Poor Brother carried it home once more and placed it behind the door.
Years afterwards, a rich merchant sailed from a distant land and anchored his ship in the harbor. He visited the home of the Poor Brother and asked about the Mill, for he had heard how wonderful it was.
"Will it grind salt?" the merchant asked.
"Yes, indeed!" said the Poor Brother. "It will grind anything in the whole world excepting snow and ham."
"Let me borrow the Mill for a short time, and great will be your reward," said the merchant.
He thought it would be much easier to fill his ship with salt from the Mill, than to make a long voyage across the ocean to procure his cargo.
The Poor Brother consented gladly. The merchant went away with the Mill. He did not wait to find out how to stop the grinding.
When the merchant went aboard the ship, he said to the captain, "Here is a great treasure. Guard it carefully."
The captain thought that the little Mill did not appear very wonderful, but he placed it upon the deck of the ship. Then he ordered the sailors to their posts of duty, and the ship sailed away.
When they were out at sea, the merchant said, "Captain, we need not go any further upon our voyage. The Mill will grind out salt enough to fill the hold of the ship."
So saying he cried,
"Grind, quickly grind, little Mill, Grind SALT—with a right good will!"
And the Mill ground salt, and more salt, and still more salt. When the hold of the ship was full of salt, the merchant cried, "Now you must stop, little Mill."
But the little Mill did not stop. It kept on grinding salt, and more salt, and still more salt.
The captain shouted, "We shall be lost! The ship will sink!"
One of the sailors called, "Ahoy, captain! Throw the Mill overboard."
So, heave ho! Heave ho! And overboard went the wonderful Mill, down to the bottom of the deep sea.
The captain and his crew sailed home with the merchant's cargo of salt.
But the Mill kept on grinding salt at the bottom of the sea.
AND THAT IS WHY THE SEA IS SALT.
At least, so some people say.
SENNIN THE HERMIT
In the far-away land of Japan, there was a little village that lay at the foot of a high mountain.
Every day the children went to play on the grassy bank near a pond at one end of the village. They threw stones into the water. They fished, and they sailed their toy boats. They picked the wild flowers that grew in the fields near by.
They carried with them rice to eat, and from morning until evening they played near the pond.
One day, while they were at play, the children were surprised to see an old man with a long, white beard walking toward them. He came from the direction of the mountain.
The children stopped their games to watch the old man. He came into their midst, and patting them upon their heads easily made them his friends.
The children continued their play, for they knew that the old man was kind.
The man watched the children, and when it was time for them to go home, he said, "Come to the flat rock on the side of the mountain to-morrow, and I will show you some wonderful games."
Then he climbed up the mountain once more and disappeared.
The following morning, the children went to the flat rock. They found the old man waiting for them.
"Now, my dear children," said he, "I am going to amuse you. Look here!"
He picked up some dry sticks. He blew at the ends of the sticks, and at once they became sprays of beautiful cherry, plum, and peach blossoms. He passed a branch of each of the flowers to the girls.
Then he took a stone and threw it into the air. The stone turned into a dove!
Another stone became an eagle, another a nightingale, or any bird a boy chose to name.
"Now," said the old man, "I will show you some animals that I am sure will make you laugh."
The children clapped their hands.
He recited some verses, and a company of monkeys came leaping upon the rock. The monkeys jumped about, grinning at the same time and performing funny tricks.
The children clapped their hands again.
Then the old man bowed to them and said, "Children, I can play no more games to-day. It is time for you to go back to the village. Farewell!"
The old man turned to go. He went up the mountain in the direction of a cave. The children tried to follow him, but in spite of his age he was more nimble than they. They ran far enough, however, to see him enter the cave.
When they reached the entrance, the old man had disappeared.
The cave was surrounded by fragrant flowers; but into its depths the children did not dare to go.
Suddenly one of the girls pointed upwards, crying, "There is the old grandfather!"
The others looked up, and there, standing on a cloud over the top of the mountain, was the old man.
"Let us go home now," said one of the boys.
On the way, they met two men of the village, whom their parents had sent to search for them.
When the children had told their story, one of the men exclaimed, "Ah, happy children! The kind old man is surely Sennin, the wonderful Hermit of the Mountain!"
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow, Little frosty Eskimo, Little Turk or Japanee, O! Don't you wish that you were me?
You have seen the scarlet trees And the lions over seas; You have eaten ostrich eggs, And turned the turtles off their legs.
Such a life is very fine, But it's not so nice as mine; You must often, as you trod, Have wearied NOT to be abroad.
You have curious things to eat, I am fed on proper meat; You must dwell beyond the foam, But I am safe and live at home.
Little Turk or Japanee, O! Don't you wish that you were me?
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
GREAT AND LITTLE BEAR
Callisto was a beautiful woman whom the god Jupiter admired.
The goddess Juno was very angry because Jupiter was kind to Callisto. She decided to be revenged.
"I will take away her beauty, so that no one shall admire her," said Juno.
Night and day she thought and planned, until she found a way to punish Callisto.
One morning as the fair and gentle Callisto was gathering wild flowers in a field, she was suddenly changed into a bear. Then she was driven into a forest near by.
"You shall live in this forest forever! A cave under the rocks shall be your home!" exclaimed Juno.
Although she had the form of a bear, Callisto was still a woman at heart. She feared all the animals that she met.
The hunting dogs frightened her, and she would hide in terror from the hunters.
One day a young man was hunting in the forest. Callisto recognized him at once as her son Arcas.
She rushed toward her son to embrace him, but thinking the bear was going to attack him, Arcas lifted his hunting spear.
As he was about to strike the bear, Jupiter appeared. The god snatched away the spear just in time to save Callisto's life.
Jupiter took both Callisto and Arcas, and placed them in the sky. Callisto became the Great Bear, and Arcas the Little Bear.
They have remained in the sky ever since. On pleasant nights you can see them in the sky, as they move around the North Star.
THE BOY AND THE SHEEP
"Lazy sheep, pray tell me why In the pleasant field you lie, Eating grass and daisies white, From the morning till the night: Everything can something do, But what kind of use are you?"
"Nay, my little master, nay, Do not serve me so, I pray! Don't you see the wool that grows On my back to make you clothes? Cold, ah, very cold you'd be, If you had not wool from me!
"True, it seems a pleasant thing Nipping daisies in the spring; But what chilly nights I pass On the cold and dewy grass, Or pick my scanty dinner where All the ground is brown and bare!
"Then the farmer comes at last, When the merry spring is past, Cuts my woolly fleece away, For your coat in wintry day. Little master, this is why In the pleasant fields I lie."
THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
There was once a boy who tended his father's sheep on the side of a mountain, near a dark forest.
It was a lonely place. No one was near, excepting three men whom the boy could see working in the fields, in the valley below.
One day the boy thought he would have some fun. He rushed down toward the valley, crying, "Wolf! Wolf!"
The men ran to meet him, and one of them remained with him for a while.
The boy enjoyed the company and the fun so much, that he tried the same trick again, a few days later. Again the men ran to help him.
Soon after this, a wolf really came from the forest and began to steal the sheep.
The boy ran after the men, crying more loudly than ever, "Wolf! Wolf!"
But it was of no use for him to call. The men had been fooled twice, and now no one went to help him. So the wolf had a good meal from the herd of sheep.
THE LION'S SHARE
The fox and the donkey were friends. One day they agreed to go hunting together.
On their way through the forest, they stopped at the den of the lion.
"Ho, ho, King Lion!" called the fox. "Friend Donkey and I are going to hunt for game. Will you go with us?"
"Certainly," said the lion." I am ready for a good dinner."
The lion, the fox, and the donkey set a trap near the lion's den. Then they hid behind the trees near by.
Soon a wolf came prowling along and was caught in the trap.
They attacked the wolf and killed him.
"Let us have our dinner now. I am hungry," said the lion.
"Friend Donkey," added the lion, "you may divide the animal and give each of us his portion."
So the donkey divided the wolf into three equal parts.
Then he said to the lion, "Which part will you have, King Lion?"
The lion saw how the donkey had divided the animal.
King Lion was very angry.
He said with a roar, "What do you mean, Friend Donkey, by taking so much for your share?"
"I have divided the wolf into three equal parts," said the donkey. "If you do not like the way I have divided the animal, you need not take any."
At this the lion was furious.
Springing upon the poor donkey, he killed him instantly.
Then the lion turned to the fox.
"There are only two of us now," said the lion. "Let me see how you will divide the animal."
The fox bowed low before King Lion.
He took one very small piece of meat for himself.
Then he put all the rest of the animal in a heap for the lion.
The lion watched greedily to see what the fox would do next.
"This is your share, King Lion," said the fox.
The lion was pleased with the way the fox had divided the meat.
"Who taught you how to divide the wolf?" he said.
Once more the fox bowed low before King Lion.
Then he said humbly, "Friend Donkey taught me how to divide the wolf!"
Good-by, good-by to summer! For summer's nearly done; The garden smiling faintly, Cool breezes in the sun. Our thrushes now are silent, Our swallows flown away— But Robin's here with coat of brown, And ruddy breast-knot gay.
Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! Robin sings so sweetly In the falling of the year.
Bright yellow, red, and orange, The leaves come down in hosts; The trees are Indian princes, But soon they'll turn to ghosts; The leathery pears and apples Hang russet on the bough; It's autumn, autumn, autumn late, 'Twill soon be winter now.
Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And what will this poor robin do? For pinching days are near.
The fireside for the cricket, The wheat stack for the mouse, When trembling night winds whistle And moan all round the house; The frosty ways like iron, The branches plumed with snow— Alas! In winter dead and dark, Where can poor Robin go?
Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And a crumb of bread for Robin, His little heart to cheer!
In the long, long ago, there lived a king and queen who for many years had no children.
At last a lovely baby was born to them—a little princess.
There was great rejoicing over all the land. The king and queen decided to have a party in honor of the princess.
In the palace there was hurry and stir to make ready. Messengers were sent far and near, to invite the lords and ladies of the land to the great feast.
Among the guests invited to the party were seven good fairies.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon. The roses on the palace wall were nodding their heads sleepily in the warm breeze, when the chariot with the seven fairies arrived.
The good fairies entered the princess' room. There the tiny baby lay, sleeping in a dainty pearl cradle.
"She is as sweet and fair as a rose!" they exclaimed. "We will call her Rose."
Now it happened that the king and queen had failed to invite a spiteful and ill-tempered old witch. The old witch was very angry, because she had not been invited to the party.
After the guests had all arrived, she entered through the keyhole. No one saw her enter.
Each of the good fairies bestowed on the princess a precious gift.
"I bestow upon you, sweet princess, the gifts of health and cheerfulness," said the first fairy.
"You shall be the most beautiful princess in the world," said the second fairy.
"You shall be witty and wise," said the third.
"You shall have the sweetest voice that ever was heard," said the fourth.
"You shall be generous and kind," said the fifth.
"Everyone shall love you," said the sixth of the good fairies.
Just then a spiteful laugh was heard.
"Ah, ah, ah!" some one called.
The king and queen saw the old witch who had not been invited to the party.
"I will tell you what shall happen to this little wonder," said the witch. "She will cut her finger with a spindle before she is fifteen years old, and then she will die!"
The old witch shook her black stick at the princess.
Then she disappeared, as she had entered, through the keyhole.
The king and queen were troubled when they heard the witch's words, but the seventh fairy, who had not yet spoken, stepped forward.
"The king's daughter shall not die, but she shall sleep for a hundred years. When the princess falls asleep, everyone in the palace will go to sleep, too. They will all sleep for a hundred years."
Then the king ordered that every spindle in the kingdom should be destroyed.
Not a spindle was to be used, anywhere in the country, until after the princess had passed her fifteenth birthday.
The gifts of the fairies proved true. The princess was so beautiful and so good that she was loved by all. She was witty and wise and her voice was like a silver bell.
One day, when the princess was nearly fifteen years old, she wandered through the palace and up the winding stairs to an old tower.
There, in a little room, sat an old woman, busily twisting thread upon a spinning wheel. The old woman had never heard the king's command.
"How merrily the wheel goes round! Let me see if I can spin!" said the princess.
Scarcely had the princess touched the spindle when she cut her finger.
The girl fell at once into a deep sleep. She lay upon the floor beside the spinning wheel, fast asleep.
In the castle below, the king, the queen, and all the servants fell asleep, too. The horses slept in their stalls. The dogs slept in their kennels.
The pigeons on the roof, and the birds in their nests, all went sound asleep. Even the fire flaming on the hearth became still.
Deep shadows darkened the sunny rooms of the palace, and the garden round about.
A hedge of thorns at once began to grow around the palace.
The hedge became thicker and higher as the days went by, until at last it was so tall that not even the palace towers could be seen.
The story of the princess, the beautiful Thorn Rose, was told far and wide.
At last a hundred years had passed. Prince Courageous was traveling through the land. He heard from an old man the story of the thorn hedge, and of the princess who lay in the palace behind the hedge, fast asleep.
The old man told the prince that the time had come when the long enchantment was at an end.
"But who knows how great the danger may be?" added the old man. "No one has entered the palace for a hundred years!"
"I will brave the danger, whatever it may be!" exclaimed Prince Courageous. "I will find the sleeping princess or lose my life!"
So Prince Courageous mounted his horse and rode through the woods until he came to the tall thorn hedge. He made his way through the underbrush.
The briers were thick and the thorns sharp, but Prince Courageous was strong and brave.
He knocked at the gate, but there was no answer. The prince opened the gate and entered the courtyard.
All was silence in the palace hall. Only the sound of his own footsteps could Prince Courageous hear.
Everybody was fast asleep—the horses in their stalls, the pigeons on the roof, the birds in their nests, the servants in the halls, the king and queen on their golden throne.
Prince Courageous tiptoed through the silent rooms. Finally, he reached the narrow stairway that led to the tower.
The prince climbed the winding stairs. There, beside the spinning wheel, lay the beautiful princess, fast asleep.
Stepping softly to her side, he kissed the princess on the cheek. Thorn Rose opened her eyes—and there stood the prince!
And now all the court awoke.
The horses began to neigh. The dogs began to bark. The pigeons cooed. The birds sang. The kitchen fire burst into flame.
The sun shone brightly, and the roses on the palace wall swayed in the breeze.
The prince and the princess were married next day, and the seven good fairies danced at the wedding feast.
THE WOLVES AND THE DEER
Long ago, a pack of wolves lived on a prairie. Some deer lived near by.
The wolves could run swiftly, but they knew that the deer were swift runners, too. The hungry wolves wondered how they might catch the deer and eat them.
At last they thought of a fine plan. They invited the deer to run a race with them.
The wolves and the deer started in the race side by side, but the deer ran much the faster.
The wolves were very angry. "We will eat the deer yet," they said.
One day they prepared a great feast. They invited the deer to dine with them. The deer sat down facing the wolves. Then the wolves said to the deer, "Laugh, you on the other side!"
"No," said the deer. "You laugh first."
"Very well," said the wolves. "We will laugh first."
And they laughed, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
"Now you on the other side laugh, too," said the wolves.
Then the deer laughed, "Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm!"
"Laugh again," said the deer.
"Very well," said the wolves, and they laughed, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
The deer were frightened when they saw the great, sharp teeth of the hungry wolves.
They wanted to run away at once and hide from the wolves, but they were afraid.
Again the wolves said, "Laugh, you on the other side! But do not keep your mouths closed when you laugh. Nobody laughs like that."
Then the deer laughed, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
This time they opened their mouths. The wolves could not see any teeth in the mouths of the deer.
At once the wolves attacked the deer. They killed and ate them.
Only a few of the deer escaped.
To this day, all deer are afraid of wolves.
The wolves laugh and show their teeth when they see the deer. And deer run as fast as they can when they see the wolves.
Then Nokomis, the old woman, Spake and said to Minnehaha, "'Tis the Moon when leaves are falling; All the wild rice has been gathered, And the maize is ripe and ready, Let us gather in the harvest, Let us wrestle with Mondamin, Strip him of his plumes and tassels, Of his garments, green and yellow."
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.
THE GIFT OF CORN
Long, long ago, a tribe of Indians lived on a beautiful island in the Great Lakes.
An enemy attacked the Indians, and they were driven from home. They wandered far away and settled on the shore of a small lake.
Brave Heart, a strong and powerful Indian, remained to guard the beautiful island.
One morning Brave Heart stepped into his canoe. He was planning to paddle around the island. The canoe glided swiftly along by the tall trees that grew near the water.
At last Brave Heart had gone beyond the trees. He saw a vast plain. He paddled to the shore and drew his canoe up the beach.
Then Brave Heart started to walk across the plain. Suddenly a little man stood in front of him. The stranger was dressed in green, and he wore a green cap with red feathers in it.
"Ho, ho, Brave Heart!" cried he. "You are very strong, are you not?"
"Yes," said Brave Heart, "I am as strong as any man. But who are you?"
"I am Red Plume," replied the little man. "Stay and smoke the peace pipe with me."
Presently Red Plume said, "I am small, but I am strong. Let us wrestle together, to see which of us is the stronger. If I fall, you must say, 'I have conquered Red Plume.'"
Then Brave Heart wrestled with the little man. He found that Red Plume was indeed very strong. He felt himself growing weaker each moment. But at last he succeeded in tripping the man.
Then Brave Heart cried, "I have conquered Red Plume!"
Instantly, to Brave Heart's surprise, the little man vanished. On the spot where he had stood lay an ear of corn.
The corn was covered with greenish husks, and the red silk at the top was like a plume. It looked like the little man.
Brave Heart looked down at the corn in amazement.
Suddenly the ear of corn spoke.
"Take me and pull off my green garments," said the ear of corn. "Plant my kernels in the ground and cover them with soft soil. Break my cob into small pieces and throw them near the trees at the edge of the forest. Then depart, and return when the next moon is high in the heavens."
Brave Heart did as he was told. Then he went to his canoe and paddled back to his home.
He returned when the next moon was high in the heavens. He found the plain covered with tender green plants. Near the edge of the forest green vines were growing.
Brave Heart heard some one speaking from the ground.
"Come again, before the Moon of Falling Leaves," were the words he heard.
One day, when the summer was nearly over, Brave Heart paddled his canoe along the island as far as the plain.
It was almost time for the Moon of Falling Leaves.
There, near the spot where he had wrestled with the little man, stood a field of ripe corn.
The red tassels nodded in the breezes, and the leaves rustled in the wind.
Near the forest were great yellow pumpkins ripening on the vines.
Brave Heart pulled some ears of ripe corn and gathered some of the pumpkins.
Then he built a hot fire and roasted the ears of corn. How delicious the roasted corn tasted!
Once more Red Plume spoke, again from the cornfield.
"You have conquered me, Brave Heart. If you had not done so, you would have been destroyed. By your strength, you have won the Gift of Corn."
Then Brave Heart was glad.
He hastened to his people and brought them back once more to live, ever after, on their beautiful island.
And always the people blessed him for the gift of the precious corn.
Brave Heart had conquered Red Plume.
A BOY'S SONG
Where the pools are bright and deep, Where the gray trout lies asleep, Up the river and o'er the lea, That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the blackbird sings the latest, Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest, Where the nestlings chirp and flee, That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the mowers mow the cleanest, Where the hay lies thick and greenest, There to trace the homeward bee, That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the hazel bank is steepest, Where the shadow falls the deepest, Where the clustering nuts fall free, That's the way for Billy and me.
Why the boys should drive away Little sweet maidens from the play, Or love to banter and fight so well, That's the thing I never could tell.
But this I know, I love to play Through the meadow, amid the hay; Up the water and o'er the lea, That's the way for Billy and me.
THE FROGS' TRAVELS
Long, long ago, in the country of Japan, there were two frogs.
One of the frogs lived in a pond near Tokio, and the other lived in a little stream near Kioto.
One fine morning in early spring, these two frogs decided that they would travel forth to see the world.
Strangely enough, though they had never heard of each other, the same thought came to each frog at the same time.
The first frog started along the road which led from Tokio to Kioto.
He found the journey difficult and the road hard to travel. So, when he had hopped to the top of a high hill halfway, he decided to stop a while and rest.
The other frog started out on the same road, but from Kioto.
It took him a long time to reach the hill where the first frog was resting.
The two frogs met at the top of the hill. They were delighted to make each other's acquaintance.
"Greetings, friend!" said the first of the two frogs. "Where are you going?"
"I have a great desire to see the world, and especially to visit Tokio. I am on my way for a visit to Tokio now," replied the second frog.
"There is no need of hurrying. Let us rest here and stretch our limbs," said the first frog.
"What a pity that we are not taller!" said the Kioto frog.
"Why?" asked the Tokio frog.
"If we were taller, we could see both towns from this hill. Then we should be able to tell whether or not it were worth while to continue our journey," said the Kioto frog.
"Oh, we can easily find that out!" replied the other.
"We can stand on our hind legs and take hold of one another. Then each can look at the town toward which he is traveling," he added.
"A fine idea! Let us try it at once."
The two frogs stood upon their hind legs, holding each other tightly to keep from falling.
The Tokio frog turned toward Kioto, and the Kioto frog turned toward Tokio.
The foolish frogs forgot that their eyes were on the backs of their heads.
Although their noses pointed toward the places to which they wished to go, their eyes beheld the towns from which they had just come.
"Indeed, I shall travel no further!" the first frog exclaimed.
"Kioto is exactly like Tokio. I shall go home at once," he added.
"Tokio is only a copy of Kioto," said the other frog.
"It is not worth while to take the trouble to journey there!" he added disdainfully.
The two frogs bade each other a polite farewell, and each returned to his own home town.
To the end of their lives, the two frogs believed that Tokio and Kioto were really exactly alike.
Neither of the frogs ever again tried to see the world.
THE MERCHANT'S CARAVAN
Once there was a merchant who had fine silks and rugs to sell. He wished to send his goods to a country on the other side of the sandy desert.
The merchant owned a large caravan of camels, and he employed many men. Camels were the only animals strong enough to travel over the desert with the heavy loads.
For many days, Abdul the merchant and his men had been preparing for the journey. The canvas tents and the poles were placed upon one camel. Great leather bottles of water were loaded upon another camel.
Firewood and bags of rice and barley meal were placed upon still another. It required many camels to carry the merchant's goods.
At last the caravan was ready for the journey. The sun shone steadily, making the sand so hot that no one could walk upon it in the daytime. But at night both men and camels could travel easily.
So Abdul the merchant said to the men, "Be ready to start after sunset to-night. Give the camels plenty of water to drink, and feed them well, for we shall have a long, hard journey."
Abdul and his men traveled all that night. One man was the pilot. He rode ahead, for he knew the stars, and by them he could guide the caravan.
At daybreak they stopped. They spread the canvas tents and fed the camels. They built fires, cooked the rice, and made cakes of the barley meal. During the day, the men rested in the shade of the tents.
After the evening meal, the caravan started again on its way.
They had traveled thus for three long, silent nights. Early on the third morning, the camels raised their heads, stretched their nostrils, and hastened eagerly forward.
The pilot cried, "The camels smell water and grass. An oasis is near!"
Before long they could see palm trees, with their spreading leaves waving in the soft breeze.
Joyfully they rested during the day. The camels drank freely from the cool spring. The men filled the great leather bottles with fresh water. In the evening, refreshed and happy, the men continued the journey.
So they traveled night after night, resting during the heat of the day. At last, one morning the pilot said, "We shall soon reach the end of our journey."
The men were very glad to hear this, for they were weary, and the camels needed rest.
After supper that night Abdul said, "Throw away the firewood and most of the water. It will lighten the burden of the camels. By to-morrow we shall reach the city."
When the caravan started that evening, the pilot led the way as usual, but after a while, weary with many nights of watching, he fell asleep.
All night long the caravan traveled. At daybreak the pilot awoke and looked at the last star, fading in the morning light.
"Halt!" he called. "The camels must have turned while I slept. We are at the place from which we started yesterday."
There was no water to drink. There was no firewood to cook the food. The men spread the tents and lay down under them, saying, "The wood and the water are gone. We are lost!"
But Abdul said to himself, "This is no time to rest. I must find water. If I give way to despair, all will be lost."
Then Abdul started away from the tent, watching the ground closely. He walked and walked. At last he saw a tuft of grass.
"There must be water somewhere under the sand, or this grass would not be here," thought the merchant.
He ran back to the tent, shouting and calling, "Bring an ax and a spade. Come quickly!"
The men jumped up and ran with the merchant to the place where the grass was growing. They began to dig in the sand, and presently they struck a rock.
Abdul jumped down into the hole and put his ear close to the rock.
"Water! Water!" he cried. "I hear water running under this great rock. We must not despair!"
Then, raising his ax above his head, he struck a heavy blow. Again and again he struck the rock.
At last the rock broke, and a stream of water, clear as crystal, filled the hole almost before the merchant could jump out of it.
A shout of joy burst from the lips of the men. They drank the water eagerly, and afterwards led the camels to the spring. Then they set up a pole, to which they fastened a flag, so that other traders might find the well.
In the evening, the men again started on their journey, and they reached the city the very next day.
QUEEN HULDA AND THE FLAX
There was once a poor peasant, Hans by name. He lived with his wife and children in a valley at the foot of a snow-capped mountain.
Hans often drove his sheep to pasture up the mountain side.
He always carried his crossbow with him, to protect the sheep. He was a skillful marksman.
Once in a while, Hans would shoot a deer. The deer meat would serve as food for his family during many days.
One day Hans was watching his sheep while they grazed on the mountain side. Suddenly a deer appeared. Its spreading antlers glittered in the morning sunlight with wonderful brightness.
The deer bounded across the pasture to the rocks higher up the mountain. Hans followed quickly, hoping to approach near enough to shoot an arrow.
From rock to rock, higher and higher, Hans followed the deer, until at last they were at the summit of the mountain.
They sped over the snow until the deer disappeared in the Blue Grotto.
Hans followed more slowly, along a dark and narrow tunnel that led to the Blue Grotto. Suddenly he caught a glimpse of a bright light in the distance.
He walked on and soon reached a brightly lighted cave. From the walls and ceiling of the cave hung many wonderful crystals and precious stones.
A tall woman dressed in pure white stood in the midst of the cave. A golden girdle was fastened about her waist. A crown set with jewels rested on her head. In her hand she held a bunch of blue flowers.
Lovely maidens in dainty robes, with graceful wreaths of Alpine roses on their heads, attended their queen.
Overcome with wonder, Hans knelt before the beautiful woman. As in a dream, he heard her say very softly, "Choose for yourself what you will of my treasures—gold, or silver, or precious stones."
"Most gracious queen," replied Hans, "I ask only for the flowers in your hand."
The queen was pleased, and she gave the flowers to Hans at once.
"You have chosen well," said she. "Take also these seeds and sow them in your fields."
Suddenly a peal of thunder shook the grotto. When it had ceased, Hans found himself standing alone on the mountain.
When Hans reached home, he showed his wife the blue flowers and the seeds that had been given him by the queen.
"Wonderful crystals and precious stones hang from the walls and ceiling of the cave, but the queen is more beautiful than all!" exclaimed Hans.
"Why did you not choose some of the diamonds and gold?" cried his wife, and she scolded Hans roundly, because he had taken only flowers and seeds.
Hans made no reply, but he went to the fields and plowed the ground. Then he sowed carefully the seeds that the queen had given him.
The weeks passed by. Tiny green leaves began to show above the ground. The plants grew taller and taller, and then the blue flowers began to appear.
The flowers were so beautiful that even the angry wife was pleased. She had never seen anything like them.
Hans watched his fields day and night. One moonlight night, he saw the lovely queen of the Blue Grotto walking about among the flowers, with her maidens. They seemed to be guarding the blossoms.
At last the flowers had withered, and the seeds were ripe. Then the queen of the Blue Grotto appeared at the cottage door.
The queen of the Blue Grotto said, "I am Queen Hulda. I have come to teach you how to spin and weave."
"The blue flowers that your husband chose were the wonderful flax," added the queen. "I love it very much."
Queen Hulda taught Hans and his wife how to spin and weave linen cloth.
Many people bought the linen and the flax seeds, so that Hans and his wife became very rich.
Every year Queen Hulda and her maidens watched over the fields. Hans was very happy, because he had chosen the blue flowers of the wonderful flax.
Oh, whither away, ye children dear! To Fairy Grove in Wonderland!
The trees bend low with a wondrous glows Diamonds and rubies the fruit, and lo, Gather the gems, for you they grow.
So hither hie, ye children dear! To Fairy Grove in Wonderland!
Welcome prince and princess gay, Elf and fay and sprite at play, Dancing till the dawn of day.
Then hasten all, ye children dear! To enter the Realm of Wonderland!
No giant or genie need cause you alarm, Treasures they'll give, and keep away harm, For ALADDIN'S LAMP is the hidden charm.
ALADDIN AND THE MAGIC LAMP
Aladdin was a poor boy who lived in a city of Persia. His mother was a widow. She supported herself by weaving mats.
One day Aladdin was playing in the street. A tall, dark man stood watching him. When the game was finished, the man beckoned to Aladdin to come to him.
"What is your name, my boy?" asked the man, who was a Magician.
"My name is Aladdin," answered the boy. He wondered who the stranger might be.
"And what is your father's name?" the Magician asked.
"My father was Mustapha the tailor, but he died when I was only two years of age," replied Aladdin.
"Alas!" cried the Magician, pretending to weep. "He was my brother, and you must be my nephew. I am your long lost uncle."
Then he embraced Aladdin and gave him five gold coins, saying, "Come with me, and I will show you the sights."
They went from the city, through pretty gardens, into the open country. They walked a long distance.
The Magician gave Aladdin some delicious fruit to eat and told him wonderful stories. The lad scarcely noticed how very far they had gone.